Ndutu: Everything You Need to Know

Cheetah Ndutu

Ndutu is made mostly of sweeping grasslands and occupies the area towards the Northwest border of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, stretching into South Serengeti. Ndutu region, along with Southern Serengeti hosts great migration from late December to March, and like most of the Serengeti, it too has endless wide plains dotted with lakes, trees, stunning kopjes.


1. Wildlife and Migration in Ndutu

2. Birds

3. Vegetation

4. Things to Do

5. Weather and Climate

6. When to Visit

7. Accommodations

8. Location and How to Reach

9. Fee Structure

10. Safari Tours

11. Frequently Asked Questions

Wildlife and Migration in Ndutu

While the Ndutu and South Serengeti are beautiful throughout the year, they are at their best for wildlife viewing from December to March.

Following the short rains in December, the area becomes lush with fresh grass and watering holes are rejuvenated. The Wildebeest migration, which follows the rains, arrives in this area. So suddenly, from December onwards there’s a burst of life in the South and it lasts till March. Along with the Wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and other smaller herbivores arrive as well.

Do not think these plains become void of wildife after the migration leaves. There are many animals that do remain in the region permanently. You will find animals such as aardvarks, pangolins, monkeys, dik-diks, and even a good concentration predators like lions, hyenas, and cheetahs are permanent residents of this region.

Superb Starling


Ostriches, bustards, shrikes, superfowls, weavers, lovebirds, herons are the popular birds you find in this region. However, the kind of ecological areas that birds prefer are found in the West and the Northern parts of Serengeti. The southeast region of the park is plainer so it will be difficult to find the birds there. You are likely to spot the more common birds such as Fischer’s Lovebirds, Superb Starlings, and Cordon-Bleus.


Being a part of Serengeti ecosystem, Ndutu and South Serengeti have most of the trees seen in other regions such as Kigelias and Figs, but the region is mostly dominated by Umbrella Acacias.

Wildebeest baby

Things to Do

Wildebeest Calving

Watching wildebeest calving in Ndutu is an incredible experience.

During the calving season, which typically occurs between January and March, the wildebeest give birth to their young in the vast plains of Ndutu. This is an important time for the wildebeest, as they need finish the birthing process and nurse their young before the long annual journey resumes.

So if you're present in this region between January to March, and especially in February, be sure to stop by the vast Ndutu plains to watch the Wildebeests giving birth, the newborn calves taking their first steps, and the interactions between mother and calf. You may also see predators such as lions and hyenas stalking the wildebeest, as they take advantage of the vulnerable young.

Hot Air Balloon Safari

Hot Air Balloon Safaris are only conducted between December and March in Southern Serengeti/Ndutu, but it leads to quite a unique experience. Since that is the time when the migration is present and birthing, a hot air balloon safari will give you an aerial view of this special natural phenomenon. You will have the chance to spot the big cats lurking in the fringes, the baby wildebeests interacting with their mothers and taking their first steps, and the other animals in the region waking up and going out for their hunt.

As you float over the open savannah filled with a variety of wildlife, your guide will point out important things for you to ensure that you don't miss a thing.

For this activity you will be picked up from your lodge quite early in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., and driven to the launch site where you will actually be able to witness your balloon get inflated while the guide explains some rules and regulations. Post the ride, you will be treated to a breakfast in the bush complete with a champagne, and receive a certificate to commemorate this ride.

Overall, a hot air balloon safari in Ndutu between December and March is an unforgettable experience that offers a unique perspective on this incredible wilderness.

Walking Safari

A walking safari in Ndutu or south Serengeti will allow you to get upclose with raw, untouched nature. It can be a great experience for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Following trails in the wild, noticing animal tracks, bones, and identifying them, can be quite thrilling and a walking safaris allows exactly those things. If you do a walking safari between January & february, you might even get to witness a few wildebeests in the process of giving birth and interacting with their young from a safe distance.

You will be accompanied by a park ranger on this safari who willbeequipped with a gun for protection. However, a gun will be the last resort in case something happens so clients do not need to worry about injuring animals. For safety, it is mandatory that the clients follow all the rules set by the patk ranger before the safari.

A walking safari also starts around 6:30 in the morning and you will have the option of doung either a long walk or a short walk. A short will last for four hours, and a long walk will be anything beyond that.

To ensure that you are able to enjoy your tour, please ensure that you dress comfortably. Wear your comfortable walking sneakers as you will have to walk for hours and ensure that your bottoms cover your legs entirely. Refrain from wearing dark colours such as blue and black as they attract tsetse flies.

To arrange your walking safari, we will book a tour through park authority, and your guide will be arranged a day before. If you wish to do one, simply let us know.

Weather and Climate

Ndutu has a moderate climate that is mostly pleasant. While the weather is pleasant in the afternoon, it does get cold during the night and early mornings so it is advisable to carry warm clothing with you.

The dry season is from June to October, and during this time temperatures can go as high as 25°C / 77°F, and as low as 14°C / 57°F.

The wet season is from November to May with peak of the wet season starting from around late March. Temperature can go as high as 26°C / 79°F and as low as 15°C / 59°F.

When to Visit

Many animals do stay on in the plains of Ndutu and South Serengeti, but there is a burst of life in the region when the migration arrives by late December. Check our article on Serengeti migration. Wildebeests begin producing about 8,000 babies every day from around Mid January till almost end of February. It is a unique sight, indeed. You can see the wildebeests calving and see the babies taking their very first steps within a few minutes of being born. So the recommended time to visit Ndutu is Late December to March and if you are keen on seeing the calving, then Mid January to February is the best time.


Check where to stay to see great migration in Ndutu here

Location and How To Reach

Ndutu region is located in Northern Tanzania and is west of the city of Arusha.

You may choose to travel to Ndutu by road. You will be picked up from Arusha and it will take about 6 hours to reach Ndutu or South Serengeti.

Scheduled flights are also flown in and out of Ndutu on a regular basis from mid december to March, so you have the option of traveling by air as well. Southern Serengeti can be accessed by Kusini airstrip while Ndutu can be accessed by Ndutu airstrip.


Since Ndutu lies mostly in Ngorongoro conservation area and to some extent in South Serengeti, fees for either of these 2 protected areas apply if you wish to visit Ndutu. For foreigners, if you wish to stay on Ngorongoro side of Ndutu, then the park fees would be USD 71 per day and for staying overnight, along with your accommodation fees, you will have to pay a private campsite fees of USD 71 per night. If you plan to stay on the Serengeti side of Ndutu, then park fee is $83 per adult per day and private campsite fees is USD 59 per person per night.

Safari Tours

We offer various itineraries that include safari tours to Ndutu. We usually recommend clients to plan their stay/safari on the Ngorongoro side of Ndutu as majority of the herds are often seen on Ngorongoro side itself rather than Serengeti side. Here are our popular Ndutu tours where you can see great migration between Late december to March.


In which months do we recommend this region?

We recommend visiting Ndutu between Late December to March for seeing the great migration. For those keen on seeing calving, we recommend visiting between Mid January to February for higher chances of seeing the Wildebeest calving. They synchronise their birth and produce thousands of babies every day as it reduces predation risk for any single baby. Check our list of (Serengeti migration safaris in February here)[https://monkey.travel/en/tours/?location=Tanzania&start_date=2024-02-15&adults=2&low=1&high=14&sort=plh&page=1&filter=great%20migration]

How far is Ndutu from Arusha or from Central Serengeti?

Ndutu is about 6 hours from Arusha and 2 hours from Central Serengeti.

What do I see here apart from the Great Migration during the recommended months?

You will be able to spot smaller herbivores like dik-diks and impalas, and predators such as Cheetahs, Hyenas, and Lions. Pangolins and Aardvarks also stay in this area, however, they are nocturnal creatures so chances of seeing them are low.

How many days do we recommend spending here?

We recommend staying for 2-3 nights in this region. But if you are short on time, even a 1 night stop here before proceeding to Central Serengeti is adviced.

When is the best time to see calving?

The best time to see calving is from Mid January to February.

Should I stay on Serengeti (south) side or Ngorongoro conservation area side of Ndutu Ndutu falls mostly in the Ngorongoro conservation area with a small part of Ndutu stretching into the southern part of Serengeti national park.

From January to March, most herds are expeted to be on the Ngorongoro side of the border and fewer herds are expected to be on the South Serengeti side. So we recommend clients stay in Ndutu, Ngorongoro conservation area and not in south Serengeti to witness the migration. If you stay on the south Serengeti side, we will be doing game drives on the South Serengeti side. While we might still most likely find herds, the expected numbers will be quite fewer than on the Ngorongoro side. But to enter Ngorongoro part of Ndutu, we need to pay park fees (USD 71 per person per day) which will be extra to the tour price.

This is the reason most migration camps(even permanent ones) are set up on the Ngorongoro side of Ndutu and not on the south Serengeti side.

In the prices, we(or most of the other operators) quote by default, we include park fees as below:

If you are staying at camp in Ndutu within the Ngorongoro conservation area, we include park fees and private campsite fees for Ngorongoro conservation area (USD 71 park fees, USD 71 private campsite fees for 24 hours). Game drives will happen in the Ndutu part of the Ngorongoro conservation area only. To enter the Serengeti side while staying at the Ngorongoro conservation area costs extra park fees for Serengeti (USD 83 per person) which is usually not part of your package, unless specifically requested and added.

If you are staying in Ndutu which is part of the South Serengeti, we include park fees and private campsite fees for Serengeti (USD 83 park fees, USD 59 private campsite fee for 24 hours). Game drives will happen in the south Serengeti region. To enter the Ngorongoro conservation area while staying at Serengeti costs extra park fees for the Ngorongoro conservation area (USD 71 per person) which is usually not part of your package, unless specifically requested and added.

So to summarize, our recommendation is to stay at a camp or lodge in Ndutu, Ngorongoro conservation area since most herds are located in this region.


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